Art therapist Zouzou (Marie Laurin) takes the suicide of one of her charges quite painfully, leaving her job and moving to a new area in The Uncanny. Her new home, initially unbeknownst to her, is filled with past traumas and no small amount of dread. Her neighbors and new acquaintances can’t help but notice her increasingly strange behavior, which is caused in part by recurring visits from a young girl. The Uncanny doesn’t offer shocks and gratuitous gore; rather, director Clara Gabrielle — who cowrote the screenplay with Laurin, her mother — focuses more on the drama regarding grief, loss, depression, and the slow decline of sanity, which are heightened here by supernatural forces. The third act does serve up a decidedly eerie set piece, though. Laurin’s hypnotic lead performance is something to behold, with solid assistance from the sizable supporting cast. Gabrielle does an impressive job at the helm, crafting a feature that should give aficionados of meditative, slow-burn horror plenty on which to dwell.
Writer/director Matt Taylor’s U.K. horror short Tealight finds agoraphobic Evelyn (Vivien Taylor) afraid to open her front door yet yearning to visit her friendly, supportive cousin Nat (Nicole Verhoeven) in Australia. A dark, ominous presence within Everlyn’s home seeks to keep her there, however. Taylor gives a formidable, moving performance of a woman overcome with a phobia, while Verhoeven provides a wonderful supporting turn. Taylor delivers a moving, thoughtful psychological horror work that examines fear and despair with compassion.
THE UNCANNY and TEALIGHT screened as part of Romford Horror Festival, which took place in Romford, U.K. from February 23–26, 2023. For more information, visit http://www.romfordhorrorfestival.com/.